What Toy my Son Plays With But I’m Going to Teach Him How to be a Man First
According to this article, parents are being urged to purchase gender neutral toys this Christmas and to adopt the No Gender December which is aimed to encourage parents to try and “de-gender their presents”. The people behind the campaign believe that industries such as science, technology, engineering and maths are fields dominated by men and avoided by women, and that women make up over 70% of the education, training, health and social workers but represent less than 12% of the mining and construction industries. Well yeah and that’s always been the case because maybe women don’t want to drive trucks and men don’t give a crap about being a teacher. And so what? Why are we trying to make anyone or anything gender bloody neutral be they toys or jobs?
The fact is, most boys prefer to play with trucks and cars. It is biological. And most girls prefer to play with dolls because that’s biological too. Studies have proven over and over again when you place children into a room full of toys they will naturally gravitate towards what we have always perceived as boy toys and girl toys.
If my daughter wanted to play with trucks and my son wanted to play with dolls then I would have been happy to buy them whatever made them happy. Seriously. I would have. Having a boy and a girl all kinds of toys were always available for each of them to play with and my daughter occasionally went into my son’s room and built something out of Lego but she was a girly girl who wanted a pink room full of frills and my son was a rough and tumble boy who wanted and needed all the typical tool kits and army tanks.
And if my son had grown to adult-hood and expressed his desire to work in a traditionally female role such as a nurse or a hairdresser I would have encouraged him all the way. Likewise if my daughter had wanted to become a race car driver or an astronaut I would have re-mortgaged our house to fund her ambitions (well, maybe not considering I haven’t paid off the first one but you get my point).
What I have a problem with is that I firmly believe that these so-called experts are confusing the hell out of parents on how to teach their sons how to become men. And boys are growing up more confused than they’ve ever been in a thousand different ways. Do they or don’t they open a door for a woman? Do they or don’t they pay for their date’s meal? Should they be a stay at home Dad while their wife returns to work? Are they supposed to forego building a cubby house and go and bake a cake?
And meanwhile girls are just as confused because (and I wrote about this at length here), they are expected to do everything; have a career and be a great mother while trying to break through the glass ceiling. And how can that ever happen when employers secretly suspect (even the female bosses) that the great up and coming highly educated prospect they just promoted is just as likely to announce that she wants one (or more) years off on maternity leave so she can return on a part-time basis. They’re damned if they stay at home and get judged for not “doing anything” and damned if they go back to work and pay someone else to raise their own child.
Have we over-thought it all? What was wrong with the days of the men leaving to hunt and gather and let’s face it, men are bigger, men are stronger, men are tougher which not only makes it logical for them to slay and drag home the dinner but also to drive an 80 tonne road train or work in a mine (which accounts for gee, the surprising lack of women in that industry).
And given women are born with a uterus and the ability to produce milk, it makes sense that they are the ones home not just looking after their babies but keeping the home fires burning at least until the little ones are off to school.
Is there a woman out there who doesn’t want a man’s man? Why are we raising gender neutral wimps? And what man doesn’t want a woman who’s soft and feminine? Why are we trying to diminish what comes naturally to us to try and prove what? That men can act like women and women can act like men?
When men become biologically able to carry a child to term and produce milk to feed that child then I will believe that men and women are gender netural but until that happens I’m going to remain firmly on the side of the fence that we need to encourage men to be providers and for women to be excellent caregivers which means encouraging boys to be masculine and instilling the self-worth in girls that it’s OK and ‘enough’ to be a great mother and that staying at home in order to do so is not only a great thing, but is a necessary thing to keep a family running smoothly.
I just feel like the whole family unit is in massive danger of permanently breaking down or disappearing. The divorce rate is skyrocketing because everyone is just so unhappy. Could it be because women in the workforce are now spending more time with their male colleagues, going to lunch, meetings and bonding with them more than their partners? And men, well they’re coming home to a chaotic house where no has been all day long, the beds are un-made, the laundry isn’t done, and the fighting starts over who has to cook dinner and they get torn a new one because of it all? I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s fair. I worked when my kids were young because braces, school fees and car payments are expensive and I had to but I can tell you, we lived that chaos and I hated it.
Instead of worrying about gender-neutral bullshit, how about we concentrate on teaching our sons to be good men. The kind of man who treats every woman with the utmost respect and reverence. To be hard working, solid men that are loyal to their families. And also teach them that it’s OK to show emotion. And then how about we teach our daughters that of course they can be any damn thing they want to be but if that means they want to stay at home and raise their kids and make sure dinner’s on the table and the clothes are washed that that is just as important as being a mathematician or a rocket scientist.